One cloudy, stormy looking March afternoon last year, when lockdown had just started and we all were starting to reckon with the scary reality that the pandemic was here to stay for a while, I got out and walked through a completely deserted Westport Village.
I walked up to the big windows at Wild Eggs and saw an eerie scene, chairs perched upside down on tables in the empty room, and a vacant expanse of empty parking lot reflected in the big plate glass windows.
In that moment I decided to come back for a meal, or maybe a few, when things returned to normal.
So recently, with vaccinations widespread and Gov. Andy Beshear’s restrictions going away, it was time to return, and so I did. Twice.
I’m delighted to report that things are very much back to normal, with food and service up to Wild Eggs’ high standard.
It doesn’t seem as if it’s been 14 years since the first Wild Eggs opened on Dutchmans Lane in 2007. I speculated at the time, based on its attractive egg-centric imaging and pretty pastel colors, that the owners had expansion plans. Indeed, Wild Eggs has grown into a regional mini-chain of more than a dozen properties, including a half-dozen around Louisville and expansion units spreading to Lexington and Bowling Green, Kentucky, as well as Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
The menu selections appear to be consistent across the properties. Nearly two dozen egg dishes are mostly priced between $11.49 and $16.99, and mostly built with two or three eggs and your choice of home fries, grits or a muffin on the side. You can dine economically on Zax I Am eggs ($8.69), a diner-style plate with home fries and an everything muffin, or a build-your-own omelet or scramble ($9.49 plus upcharges for cheeses and other fillings).
Don’t care for eggs? Wild Eggs, despite its name, has you covered with a half-dozen egg-free breakfast entrees like buffalo chicken topped with cheeses ($11.99), kitchen-sink nachos ($13.99) and traditional breakfast basics such as oatmeal with toppings or biscuits and gravy (each $8.49).
A half-dozen pancake and waffle meals range in price from $8.99 (for a Belgian waffle or big stack of buttermilk pancakes) to $12.99 (for chicken and waffle with bacon). Seven burgers and sandwiches, served with a choice of french fries or home fries, are $10.49 (for a breakfast sandwich with scrambled eggs and cheddar) to $12.99 (for Laredo steak and cheese on grilled sourdough).
A limited bar selection offers bloody marys, mimosas, tequila sunrises and liquor-spiked coffee drinks, all under $10. Fresh coffee is $2.99, and iced tea is $2.99.
We enjoyed several dishes during two visits.
The veggie bennie florentine ($11.49) is one of a trio of “bennie” dishes made in homage to classic eggs benedict. This version is decidedly greener and possibly slightly more healthy than the original. It starts with a split english muffin as a base, and each half is topped with a pile of Wild Eggs’ garlicky, lightly-sauteed spinach leaves and a spoonful of perfectly-chopped fresh tomato brunoise. A perfect, runny poached egg is then dropped on each half, with rich, sunrise-gold hollandaise spooned over each and a sprinkle of spicy paprika.
On the side, came a bowl of the grits of the day, a rich and delicious mix of cheddar, cream and coarse-grained grits.
The Wild Patty Melt ($11.99) is like a burger with a college education, placing a half-pound patty and pepperjack cheese between grilled sourdough slices with bourbon-glazed sauteed onions and horseradish aioli. The fresh Angus beef patty came well-done, and the combination of pepper jack and horseradish imparted a distinct kick.
Fries on the side were first-rate — long, golden and firm, with a crisp exterior cloaking the tender, steaming potato within.
The ACE of a BLT ($11.99) gets its obscure name from extra ingredients that add mass and flavor to the traditional bacon, lettuce and tomato. Say hello to avocado, cheddar and a fried egg on top, rounding out the A, C and E. With chopped, crisp lettuce and a thick slice of juicy, bright-red tomato, it was built on thick-sliced sourdough toast.
An everything muffin on the side was so good that we got another a la carte ($2.49). “Everything” may be a bit of a misnomer — it lacks some of the goodies that you’ll find on a traditional everything bagel. But you know what? I don’t care. It’s delicious in its own right, an alluring if unexpected combination of sweet and savory. It’s loaded with poppy seeds and onion powder, crunchy on top and tender within. Call it breakfast or call it dessert: Thick, crisp and fresh from the griddle, with maple syrup and butter, Wild Eggs’ Belgian waffle ($8.99) is a delight. Almost as big as the plate it comes on, it’s a meal in itself, especially with a thick-cut slice of salty, savory ham ($4.49) on the side.
Our first visit rang up a $39.15 tab for three, plus a 20% tip. Back a few days later, the toll was $28.06 for two, plus a $5.61 tip.
1311 Herr Lane